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United Rangers Films.Diary of a Camper (1996)

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The Rangers' "Diary of a Camper" (1996) is considered the first complete work of machinima (then known as Quake movies).

Here is a snippet from my (HEL) "High-Performance Play: The Making of Machinima," which covers the early history of this medium: "Arguably the most famous clan of all, the Rangers’ top-notch players contributed visibly to the technical community that grew around the game. They had participated in the first pre-release test of the Quake engine distributed to the Quake community. One member designed the original Capture the Flag mod; another founded one of the major sources of information about Quake development, Blue’s News; in all, about half the 25 members or so members remained active in game development or went on to work in the game industry. With their reputation for stellar performances as players and programmers already firmly established, they surprised the Quake community in October 1996—barely a month after the commercial release of the game--with an exploit of another sort: the first machinima movie, “Diary of a Camper.”"

It was distributed in the Quake demo format. In its original form as a demo movie, playback of "Diary of a Camper" would have required execution of the file through the original version of the Quake game engine corresponding to that which was used to record the actions of the players. The video seen here was prepared for the "Bang the Machine" exhibit at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in 2004 by Henry Lowood and Galen Davis; it used the original demo file, which was run in Quake. The video was captured from the graphics output, i.e., "screen capture." The captions were enlarged for easier reading by exhibition visitors. In order to document the authenticity of this video capture (or to make it easier to investigate its authenticity), I (HEL) have included the original demo file (camper.dem) here, with the readme text provided with the demo file by the Rangers; this demo file was originally distributed with the brief text file in a compressed (zipped) folder.

Here is the complete text of the readme file:

"United Rangers Films
Unzip the movie to your /quake/id1 directory. For viewing pleasure run the demo in the highest video mode your computer can handle.. To find these open the console (~) and type:


this will list all available video modes Quake can run on with your computer. Then type

vid_mode # (the number of the mode you prefer).

To run the movie bring down the console (~) and type:

playdemo nameofmovie (name of movie being the name of the demo file - always ending with the .dem extension).

Enjoy this movie and expect more from URF in the future..


Special thanks to ArchV, Sp}{inx and Mute for movie packaging... Rangers Lead The Way!!"

This movie is part of the collection: Machinima

Producer: United Rangers Films.
Production Company: United Rangers Films
Audio/Visual: sound, color
Language: English
Keywords: Quake; id Software; Rangers (Clan); United Rangers Films

Individual Files

Movie Files Thumbnail Cinepack Animated GIF h.264 Ogg Video
diaryofacamper_raw.avi 2.1 KB 
537.4 MB 
133.2 KB 
8.0 MB 
5.9 MB 
Whole Item FormatSize ZIP 38.0 KB [contents]
Information FormatSize
DiaryOfACamper_files.xml Metadata [file] 
DiaryOfACamper_meta.xml Metadata 3.5 KB 
DiaryOfACamper_reviews.xml Metadata 740.0 B 
Other Files Unknown Text
movies.txt 727.0 B 

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Average Rating: 3.00 out of 5 stars3.00 out of 5 stars3.00 out of 5 stars

Reviewer: Pleonic - 3.00 out of 5 stars3.00 out of 5 stars3.00 out of 5 stars - May 19, 2012
Subject: If Only Da Vinci Had Machinima
In what must have struck it's first viewers as a creative thunderbolt from on high with the power to forever change the course of human artistic expression, a bunch of military guys run aimlessly through some tunnels and finally shoot someone named Romero. And lo, the age of Machinima was born!

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